Ultimate Spider-Man

One of the biggest moments in superhero movie history came in February of 2015, when Marvel and Sony announced a new partnership that would allow Spider-Man to appear alongside the Avengers in Marvel’s movies. Sony had owned Spidey’s movie rights for a long time, and teaming up with Marvel was just what the character needed to wash away the disappointment of his last big-screen adventure. Sadly, anyone hoping to see a similar deal between Marvel and Fox—which owns The X-Men and The Fantastic Four—is probably going to be waiting for a long time.

Speaking with Variety as part of a longer interview, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained that such a partnership with Fox would be “an impossibility” at this time, and though he doesn’t offer a specific explanation for why that is, he does say that Marvel currently has enough projects to keep it busy “for a number of lifetimes.” That certainly seems like a solid justification, especially since the X-Men universe and the MCU are both very complicated already. Barring a complete Spider-Man-style reboot of the X-Men brand, merging it with the Avengers movies would be an outrageous undertaking.

That being said, the real loss for Marvel Studios here isn’t the X-Men at all, it’s the Fantastic Four—and not even the Fantastic Four themselves, but Doctor Doom. The Marvel movies have a well-documented problem with villains, so working out a deal for Doctor Doom would easily be just as important as that Spider-Man partnership was. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen anytime soon (if ever). Marvel is already working toward a big Thanos fight in the Avengers movies, and Doctor Doom is such a dominating and iconic presence that Marvel would have to give him a big spotlight in order to do justice to the character—something that Fox has consistently failed to accomplish.

So, we’re probably going to be stuck with more Marvel villains who are just evil reflections of the hero, and Fox is just going to keep rebooting the Fantastic Four series so it never loses the rights. In other words, we’re never going to get an appropriately awesome incarnation of Doctor Doom in a movie.